The regulator in Canada’s largest province has sued an exam prep company for allegedly providing both questions and answers to the provincial bar exam to clients enrolled in its courses.
The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) commenced a civil action Monday against NCA Exam Guru and its principal Aamer Chaudry in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Chaudry is a former licensing candidate but is not a licensed lawyer or paralegal in the province, according to the statement of claim.
The LSO, which licenses and regulates lawyers and paralegals in Canada’s largest province, is seeking unspecified monetary damages for breach of confidence, conspiracy, inducing breach of contract, and copyright infringement, plus CA$100,000 in punitive and aggravated damages. It is also seeking a return of the examination content from the defendants and an injunction prohibiting its further use and distribution.
“As regulator, we will take strong action against alleged wrongdoers,” said Diana Miles, the Law Society’s chief executive officer. “This action also serves as a reminder to candidates of their responsibilities and obligations around examination conduct, and the need to be on guard against any third parties who may be organizing activities to facilitate cheating on licensing examinations.”
The LSO is represented by Nader Hasan, Fredrick Schumann and Alexandra Heine of the highly regarded litigation boutique Stockwoods.
“The defendants were, at all times, aware that their conduct would harm the LSO. Their conduct was high-handed, dishonest, oppressive, harsh, vindicative, reprehensible, malicious, and in disregard of the integrity of the LSO and the legal profession,” said the statement of claim.
Just days before 11,000-plus candidates were to write the bar exam in early March, the LSO abruptly canceled both its barrister and solicitor exams citing a leak of exam questions. It hired external investigators to look into the breach.
While the licensing exams had gone online in June 2020 due to COVID, the LSO said rescheduled spring exams and others going forward would be held only in person.
The statement of claim also said a number of candidates used the so-called “cheating documents” from NCA Exam Guru for exams in November 2021 and it believes the defendants “have engaged in similar conduct in relation to other LSO licensing examinations” and will continue to investigate.
Some candidates who wrote earlier exams are having their calls to the bar held pending the outcome of these investigations, which a law society spokesperson says are also ongoing.